Sunday, April 01, 2007
The horses from the Bloomington kylix and the Vix crater have ancestors in the geometric horses found on those huge pottery sculptures (they are vases, but they are also sculptures) found in the cemetery of Dipylon in Athens. Most of their features are purely geometric, encircling the rounded forms of the amphora at every level, but in the middle, where the artist places the scene describing the laying out (prothesis) of the hero's dead body, the associated mourners and the processions, there are some fine prancing horses proudly displaying their powerful geometries. This would date to around the middle of the 8th century, to probably around the time Homer thrived, or the epics were written down.
When we look at these pieces, we ought to keep in mind how carefully the artist had to plan out each band so that it would meet itself in the round, coming or going, at precisely the right spot.